A busman who stopped a man taking his own life in Strabane last month has been hailed a hero by union colleagues.
But Ronan Ward said he just hopes the man is now getting the help he deserves and that publicity surrounding the incident encourages more people suffering from depression to reach out for help.
The Blighs Lane man stopped the bus he was driving early on January 7 to help restrain the man, who was on the verge of jumping into the icy waters of the Mourne.
It’s now emerged that at the last quarterly meeting of his trade union Unite’s National Executive colleagues moved to recognise Mr. Ward’s extraordinary intervention.
Unite’s Irish Chair Liam Gallagher said: “Colleagues of Ronan in transport basically felt that it was appropriate that they recognise what we considered to be a very, very brave action. It was an unselfish action and it was typical of the man himself.
“Due to his actions he did save a man’s life and we felt it was appropriate that we should in some way recognise that.”
Recalling the incident Mr. Ward said the man was actually climbing over the railings of the bridge when he slammed on the brakes.
“I stopped the bus and decided to go over and help in any way I could and I had to restrain the man from trying to do self-harm.
“On that day it turned out really well. We ended up getting the man off the bridge. Hopefully, he’s now getting the help that he deserves.”
The Creggan busman said he hoped publicity around the incident might encourage people to reach out.
He said: “Hopefully, it will promote awareness to other people so that if anyone is suffering from depression, first of all, there are people out there who will help them. They might not know them. They might not want it. But there’s always someone who will help you.”
He added: “Maybe it’s someone walking down the street you can have a chat to or it can be a bus man driving past who can maybe, get out, give you a bit of help, and let you know that there are better things in life.”
If you or someone you know is in danger of suicide, please seek help immediately. You should: Call 999; Call Lifeline on 08088088000; Use your local emergency department.